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SHOPPINGCENTRE The business of retail destinations

February 2018 • £8.00

11 Fire Liverpool fire prompts car park rethink

15 Food & Beverage Food halls come to the fore

20 Christmas The latest trends for Christmas 2018

LDO, London

Enlightening your vision Festive Lighting. Decoration. Animation & Grottos.


Editor Graham Parker 07956 231 078

Editor’s letter

Editorial Assistant Iain Hoey 07757 946 414 Sales Manager Trudy Whiston 01293 416 090 Events Sales Manager Graham Harvey 01474 247 032 Database Manager Dywayne Ramsundar 01737 852 342 Design & Production Stuart West 01737 852 343 Publishing Director Helen Richmond 01737 852 344 Editorial Board Carl Foreman, Moorgarth; Byron Lewis, Mall Solutions Europe; Andrew McCall, The ROI Team; Howard Morgan, RealService; John Prestwich, Montagu Evans; James Taylor, Workman; David Tudor-Morgan, British Land No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publishers. The Publishers accept no responsibility for any statements made in signed contributions or in those reproduced from other sources, nor for claims made in any advertisements.

We’ve become accustomed to a spate of profit warnings and CVAs in the weeks after Christmas, but there seems to be more of them than in recent years with high-profile brands looking to cut property costs. So it would be

market there are some retailers who fail because they’re just not good enough at what they do. Of course landlords should do what they can to save jobs and keep mall frontages alight for the benefit of their other tenants. But as the number of serial CVAs show, adjusting property costs is never going to solve the fundamental problems of a failing business. Retail is, after all, Darwinism in action. Graham Parker Editor Shopping Centre


Setback for Elephant & Castle BL unveils Canada Water plans McArthurGlen starts 100,000-sq ft Ashford extension Liverpool fire prompts car park rethink



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easy to get carried away in the post-Christmas gloom. It’s important to remember that property is not the main reason retailers fail. A poorly managed supply chain, buying decisions that fail to keep up with changing consumer tastes, uninspiring shopfits, shoddy merchandising or getting sizing or pricing wrong can all contribute to a retail brand’s downfall. But blaming property is a convenient decoy tactic for retailers who would perhaps rather not face up to failings elsewhere in their business. Even in a buoyant

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Food & Beverage – With high profile F&B brands cutting back their portfolios, shopping centre landlords are looking at alternative ways of creating a catering offer. Christmas – As the Christmas World show gets under way in Frankfurt, what are the design trends and technological advances that will shape Christmas 2018?


35 35

Data – Retail facts & figures Soapbox – NewRiver’s Emma Mackenzie believes convenience is king People – UKPC backs Euston’s Christmas lunch Moves – All the latest job moves

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Setback for Elephant & Castle Landsec Plans by a Dalancey-led consortium to redevelopment the Elephant & Castle shopping centre, along with the adjacent London College of Communications site, with a range of retail, residential and educational uses, have been knocked back by Southwark’s planning committee despite the officers’ recommendation to approve. The committee will reconvene on 30 January to confirm its grounds for refusal. A spokesman for the developer said: “We are disappointed that the committee, by a narrow margin, rejected this motion and recommendation. The proposals are a once in a lifetime opportunity to deliver essential regeneration to a key London location.” The developer pointed out that during the consultation process over 90 per cent of responses were in favour.

The proposals included around 170,000 sq ft of leisure, shops, restaurants; 979 new homes for rent; a new building for London College of Communication and University of the Arts

London; a new Northern Line entrance and ticket hall and improved access to Elephant & Castle mainline railway station as well as 2.5 acres of high quality public realm.

Two new entries for the Lexicon The Lexicon Bracknell has signed two new brands, Skechers and Whittard of Chelsea, building on a successful first four months of trading. The new signings take the total number of new brands the Lexicon has brought to the town centre to 38. Skechers, the American footwear company, will open in a 5,226-sq ft store on Braccan Walk while international tea, coffee and cocoa retailer, Whittard of Chelsea has signed for a 1,217-sq ft unit on The Avenue. Jessica Berney, head of retail at Schroder Real Estate, said the new lettings “demonstrate the ongoing interest in the development from both customers and national and international retailers alike.” She said the Lexicon has already started to prove itself as the Berkshire destination of choice with footfall of 5.8 million achieved in the four months since launch with up to 16 million for the year projected. The new town centre was developed by the Bracknell Regeneration 4 | SHOPPING CENTRE FEBRUARY 2018

Partnership, a 50:50 joint venture between Legal & General Capital and Schroder UK Real Estate Fund, working

with Bracknell Forest Council. Joint agents for The Lexicon are CBRE and Lunson Mitchenall.

fashions a store for Primark Landsec has signed Primark for a new anchor store at Bluewater. Due to open in 2019, the new Primark store on Thames Walk – which will have 46,000 sq ft of net sales space – reflects Landsec’s commitment to continually evolve Bluewater to match the needs and expectations of guests. The deal follows openings late last year by US premium brands, Coach and kate spade. Russell Loveland, portfolio director at Landsec, said: “We are always looking for ways to enhance our offer, from securing new premium brands to ensuring we provide the very best of affordable fashion. By providing a comprehensive, relevant and engaging offer, from brands to experiences, we ensure Bluewater remains the number one destination.”

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BL unveils Canada Water plans Jeremy British Land has opened consultation on revisions to the Canada Water masterplan, which takes in the Surrey Quays shopping centre in Surrey Docks, south-east London. At the same time BL has exended the site by buying the former Rotherhithe Police Station. The site now extends to 46 acres encompassing the Surrey Quays shopping centre, Surrey Quays leisure park, the Daily Mail’s SE16 Printworks and the historic Dock Offices British Land plans a new urban

centre for the area with a wide range of uses including offices, retail, leisure, community and public spaces as well as a range of new homes. It is expected that the masterplan will be built out in phases with a target completion date of 2033. Plans include a new open-air high street with national and independent retailers, restaurants and cafés linking Surrey Quays and Canada Water stations. British Land is in discussions with Tesco about relocating from the Surrey Quays shopping centre site to a new site

closer to Greenland Dock. More detailed plans have also been released for the first three phases which will be built on the existing Surrey Quays shopping centre car parks between Deal Porters Way and Canada Water Dock, and Roberts Close. Together, the first three detailed plots will provide 269 new homes – including affordable housing across a range of tenures – about 285,000 sq ft of workspace, a potential leisure centre, shops and places to eat and drink. A planning application is expected in Spring 2018.

Collins joins TCS board Town Centre Securities, the Leeds based property investment, development and car parking company has appointed Jeremy Collins as non-executive director. Collins has significant retail property development and management experience gained over the last 35 years, and TCS will be his first non-executive role as he embarks on a new portfolio career in 2018. He is stepping down as property director at JLP after almost 15 years during which the department store group’s estate grew from 24 shops to 51. He was previously head of retail and project director at Lend Lease between 1998 and 2003, when he led the development of Touchwood in Solihull, and is a past president of the British Council of Shopping Centres. Edward Ziff, chairman and chief executive of TCS, said: "Jeremy's appointment continues our board succession planning with three new non-executive directors, a new executive director and a new finance director appointed over the last three years, adding the additional skills and experience necessary to manage an ambitious real estate business.”

Moorgarth plans new urban market in Reading Moorgarth Group has been granted planning permission to develop an innovative urban market at its Broad Street Mall shopping centre in Reading. Reading Borough Council’s planning committee voted unanimously in favour of the temporary market place accommodated within 16 recycled metal shipping containers. With a lifespan of five years, the project in South Court will accommodate a vibrant mix of retailers and restaurants and incorporate a rooftop

stage for live music performances. The urban market will be home to a range of independent retailers and food operators in an undeveloped area to the south of Broad Street Mall. With a mix of small scale flexible units, the scheme will boost the shopping centre’s appeal. The stacking of the units will create a courtyard fronting onto South Court and Dusseldorf Way/Hosier Street, accommodating a creative mix of traders who might otherwise struggle to find

appropriate space. The market will allow innovative businesses to test new products and concepts, while providing visitors with a far greater choice of places to shop, eat and be entertained. Moorgarth MD Gary Lewis said: "The scheme will bring a new and exciting range of shopping and dining to the town and is an important step in our revitalisation of Broad Street Mall. We are hoping to install the containers this Spring and by open for trading in the Summer." FEBRUARY 2018 SHOPPING CENTRE | 7

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McArthurGlen starts 100,000- Mayor approves sq ft Ashford extension Croydon plans McArthurGlen has confirmed that building works will begin later this month on the £90 million Phase II extension of Ashford Designer Outlet. McLaren Construction has been appointed as contractor. McArthurGlen secured planning approval from Ashford Borough Council in September 2015. Scheduled to open in Autumn 2019, the 100,000 sq ft extension will deliver up to 50 additional premium and luxury brands, a new food piazza, an events space and a redesigned children’s play area, as well as 725 new parking spaces. The expansion will also include the installation of Europe’s largest living wall structure

This will be Ashford Designer Outlet's first extension since opening in 2000. The existing 185,000-sq ft centre, which has the world's largest tented retail structure, was designed by the renowned architect Richard Rogers. It attracts over 3.6 million guests every year. Claude Hargreave, director of development at McArthurGlen, said: “After four years of meticulous planning we’re incredibly excited to confirm that building works on the extension will commence this January. Over the next 18 months we will be investing £90 million into the centre to elevate the whole shopping experience for our guests and the retail environment for our brand partners.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has approved Hammerson and Westfield’s plans to regenerate Croydon town centre by redeveloping the Whitgift shopping centre with over 1.5 m sq ft of retail and leisure floorspace while adding nearly 1,000 new homes. The developers are currently guiding a start on site in early 2019 and completion in 2022 although the scheme has seen repeated delays and it remains to be seen if Westfield’s takeover by Unibail-Rodamco leads to a further rethink of the plans. Sadiq Khan, said: “This development will play a key role in unlocking the borough’s potential and is set to deliver huge economic benefits to residents and businesses in the borough. As well as the creation of 7,000 jobs and the delivery of almost 1,000 new homes, it will also attract many visitors to its brand-new leisure facilities and public spaces. I’m confident the benefits of this scheme will be felt for generations to come.”

Lincoln’s Waterside revamp under way Topshop and Topman will be joining Next, H&M, and New Look as the waterside's fashion anchors. At the same time Vision Express has also signed for a new store as part of the centre’s reconfiguration. The opticians will move into the unit being vacated by Topshop in Spring 2018.

The centre’s owners have committed to improving the centre through a number of development initiatives which are to begin imminently. As part of these works, an additional entrance is to be added from the Waterfront while enhancements are being made to the High Street passageway.

Plans to increase the F&B offer in the centre are also at an advanced stage. The Hark group is asset manager for Waterside Lincoln Limited Partnership and director Mark Williams said: “We are committed to making the Waterside centre the home of the biggest and best names in fashion.

The arrival of Topman alongside Topshop, H&M, Next and New Look is fantastic news for Lincoln, and we are currently in advanced discussions with other national brands. 2018 is going to be an exciting year for the centre as we embark on a significant investment programme.”



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The devastating car park fire at the Liverpool Echo Arena on New Year’s Eve has raised questions about fire protection in multi-storey car parks. What can shopping centre owners do?

© Mersey Fire & Rescue


he fire took hold while the nearby arena was packed for an international horse show, and it ended with 1,400 cars burned out and the structure damaged beyond repair. The total cost could reach £50m. Considering the Home Office estimates there are around 100,000 vehicle fires every year, it is perhaps surprising that these have not been more such incidents – the last recorded major fire in a multi-storey car park was at Preston Bus Station in the 1990s. However the intensity and scale of the Liverpool fire – which reached temperatures of 1000°C and caused concrete slabs to spall, exposing the rebars – have raised questions about the design of multi-storey car parks and the level of fire protection they require. There was no indication that the Echo Arena car park was in breach of building regulations. Broadly, these state that above-ground car parks should not contain flammable materials (other than a small attendant’s office and a shop mobility facility) and, if they are not open-sided, then mechanical ventilation should be installed to vent smoke. The Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, has written to Nick Hurd MP, Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service, questioning whether these regulations are fit for purpose. And Merseyside’s Chief Fire Officer, Dan Stephens, said sprinklers could have slowed or prevented the spread of the fire.

But expert opinion is divided. The British Sprinkler Alliance has called for a review of the building regulations, pointing out that the regulations concern themselves solely with life safety and do not take into account the wider economic effects of fire. “Compliance with the regulations as they stand offers the bare minimum standards, rather than adequate resilience,” the BSA says. “By the existing regulations’ measure, the fire was a success as no one was injured. However, to consider the Liverpool car park fire a ‘success’ would be a difficult pill to swallow for many people, and for this reason the BSA backs the call for a review of building regulations with regards to the installation of sprinklers across the built environment.” But experts at fire engineering and fire risk consultants Lawrence Webster Forrest are more sceptical, noting: “since cars are designed to prevent water getting inside, activating a sprinkler system will have no effect on a fire inside a car, assuming the car has a hard top, as most have. They add: “Sprinklers work by creating a cooling effect. Operating a sprinkler system during a car park fire will improve the temperature conditions around the fire and limit its spread. Sprinklers will, however, not remove smoke and toxic gases generated by the fire.” And in New Civil Engineer Fathi Tarada, managing director at fire engineering specialist Mosen, said it was ‘pure fluke’ that the Liverpool car park had not collapsed, so extensive was the fire damage. He said a simpler solution than sprinklers could be to adopt a technique used in tunnels, which face similar risks, which is to install fire trap drainage channels to collect petrochemical run off. However, he pointed out that, to remain effective, the channels require regular cleaning and maintenance. But if owners do decide to go down the sprinkler route, the BSA estimates of the cost of installing a sprinkler system in a car park the size of the Liverpool site have fallen within the range of £600,000 to £950,000; considerably lower than the costs incurred as a result of the fire.



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FOOD & BEVERAGE EVOLVES High-profile problems facing some leading brands are leading to a reassessment of the catering mix in shopping centres


or the past decade – arguably since the Global Financial Crisis – food & beverage has been seen as the answer to some fundamental problems facing the shopping centre sector. At a time when retail vacancies were soaring to unprecedented levels F&B brands were looking to take units in large numbers and often on long leases that mainstream retailers shunned. And by adding F&B to the mix managers gave shoppers another reason to visit, and extended trade into times when the mall facilities would otherwise lay unused. Now it doesn’t look so simple. The Restaurant Group – operator of Chiquito, Coast to Coast, Frankie & Benny’s and Garfunkel’s – signalled last year it was closing branches. But that has not stopped the rot in those that remained open, which saw a 3 per cent fall in like-for-like sales in the year to December 2017. Byron has launched a CVA that could see up to a third of its 67 branches close with rent cuts in the remainder. And Jamie’s Italian has announced plans to close 12 out of its 37 sites. So what does this mean in property terms? Tim Vallance, JLL’s head of UK retail & leisure, says: “In some areas there is a risk of oversupply of F&B, particularly where food has been used as an answer to rising vacancy. This is only an issue at a micro level, and will depend on the type of area and the competition present. But when viewed in conjunction with marginally slowing demand from F&B operators, which is certainly the case outside London, there is a danger of distress in pockets of this sector.” And Colliers’ head of UK leisure agency Ross Kirton predicts: “The casual dining sector is likely to undergo further

structural change at group level with further casualties. The cooling of the casual dining sector could potentially impact the development pipeline, particularly in secondary locations.” Andrew McVicker, sales director at retail analyst FSP, is even more forthright. “There’s a danger that confidence in the F&B sector is hit,” he says. “We’re already seeing prime units standing empty which does nobody any good” McVicker believes the private equity model that has driven the rapid expansion of many casual dining brands is flawed, with investors backing brands that have made a successful start but lacking the ability to drive them long-term. “The founder often exits and the company is left with a lack of understanding about what drove that initial success,” he says. And another problem identified by McVicker is the tendency to assume that a brand that has made a successful start in London is capable of being rolled out nationwide. “Too many formats developed in London are dependent on high-density and high-spending office populations,” he says. “But in many markets the evening footfall just isn’t there. Brands like Loungers and Bill’s have grown out of regional sub-markets and have an understanding of how to make lower footfall work.” However, it’s important not to get carried away by a run of bad news about the sector. JLL’s Vallance says: “While there are undoubtedly challenges and headwinds ahead, there remain tangible reasons to be positive going into 2018. The growth of independent restaurant operators will fill some of the gaps, and take the opportunities left behind by some private equity-backed chains. FEBRUARY 2018 SHOPPING CENTRE | 15



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He forecasts: “New formats will continue to emerge, driven in particular by the merging of retail and leisure. One to watch is competitive socialising – think Swingers, Flight Club and Puttshack – where we expect to see demand rippling outwards from Central London." And the consumer fundamentals that make F&B a compelling part of the shopping centre mix have not gone away, according to Ben Chesser, CEO at data marketing specialist Coniq. He says Coniq’s latest research, taken from 700,000 transactions in 15 centres across nine European countries, shows that shoppers who dine in a mall will now spend an extra 35 minutes in the centre on top of the time taken to eat. “That time translates directly to increased performance on the bottom line,” Chesser says. “Those customers who eat visiting a whopping 25 per cent more stores and spend 12 per cent more per visit.” He explains: “There’s a very strong correlation between F&B and dwell time, but to achieve that you have to have a good F&B mix. The sector is definitely plateauing and it’s all Ben Chesser is the CEO at data marketing specialist Coniq

about getting the right mix.” Like FSP’s McVicker, Chesser believes mall operators need to be more sophisticated in their approach to F&B leasing. “It’s not enough to just allocate space to F&B,” he says. “You have to understand the behaviour of distinct customer groups – families want different thinks to people in their 20s, for instance.” Equally Chesser believes technology has the potential to disrupt the catering business just as it has mainstream retailing. “Looking to the future, we’ll see technology unlock the true potential of the industry,” he predicts. “Apps are already allowing remote ordering, food delivery to your airport gate and discounted lunch subscriptions through services like Meal Pal. There are even rumours of predictive ordering, where your phone picks up on words like ‘hungry’ in messages to friends and sends proactive suggestions of places to eat. What’s certain, though, is that there is real opportunity for foodservice operators to tap into new customer types and eating patterns as they evolve.” Faced with this new uncertainty surrounding F&B, landlords are exploring new approaches that do not depend on brands to succeed. Colliers’ Kirton says: “We expect experience-led activities to take centre stage in 2018 and this sector will continue to grow in major urban locations. In addition, street food and food halls will become integral components of the leisure mix in mixed-use developments.” The food hall approach uses the collective power of a curated F&B offer to draw shoppers – a new take on the traditional food court. For instance at Kings Mall in Hammersmith, West London, landlord Schroders has handed over 12,000 sq ft to Incipio, the company which ran the successful Pergola on the Roof concept at British Land’s Paddington estate. “Incipio will facilitate the space as the manager,” explains James Lass, fund manager of Schroder’s UK Real Estate Fund. “But they’ve committed to a proper lease and for us it’s a long-term play.” The new venture will be called Feast Canteen and will be house a range of on-trend street food vendors, including Breddos Tacos, burger operator Patty & Bun, pizza restaurant Born and Raised and Salvation Noodles. Lass believes the food hall approach is a reaction to the “stale shopfits and menus” that characterise many mainstream casual dining businesses. He adds: “Customers have so much choice now. It’s a saturated market. So for us the most important thing is that the food offer is refreshed – we have to offer the experience that the end-user wants – but to constantly refresh the offer you need access to specialists who are embedded in the restaurant sector.” FEBRUARY 2018 SHOPPING CENTRE | 17


DUMDUM DONUTTERIE LAUNCHES AT LAKESIDE Patissier Paul Hurley has launched a new F&B brand, DumDum Donutterie, at intu Lakeside. Having spent more than 15 years working with the company behind the Dunkin’ Doughnuts’ UK franchise, Hurley spotted a gap in the market for luxury artisan doughnuts and now he has three successful UK outlets under his belt and an exclusive arrangement to supply Harrods. The 420-sq ft, 15-seater café and takeaway at intu Lakeside has been designed by Innovare to capture the artisanal craft, fun and high quality of the brand.



DECK THE MALLS Interactive displays win Christmas 2017



very year, the Christmas shopping experience seems more lavish than the last. Malls are under pressure from as early as the beginning of November to inspire a feeling of festivity in their shoppers from the moment they walk through the front doors, and so making sure the decorations are up to scratch has never been more pressing. One of the most important things to take into consideration when planning is the demographic of the centre both as a whole and on a section-by-section basis. “We decorate each of our centres on an individual basis because each is different, and communicating with suppliers to create vision is important,” says intu customer experience director Roger Binks. “Different centres have different catchments so say, for example, there’s a more upmarket centre or area of a centre dedicated to designer brands the decorations will reflect that.” Binks says the key is not to completely overhaul the decorations every year, as this would make little sense for cost reasons alone. But, he says, it is important to continually review and reassess to know what worked and what didn’t and decide what to add or take away for next year. There’s definitely something to be said for keeping it consistent to instil an air of warm familiarity within the shopper as they return year on year.

As Binks says, there’s no one glove fits all approach to decorating a mall and it comes down to the individual centre itself. Most centres fall somewhere on the spectrum between traditional and colourful and elegant and understated. At intu, the move is definitely towards the latter. “What is mostly fashionable just now,” says Binks, “are singular colours. We’re seeing a lot of warm or bright whites mixed with shiny surfaces that move and rotate to give a sparkly, twinkling effect. Some of the older schemes are maybe still in the more reds and greens way of things but the progress is definitely more towards bright white lights.”

MAKING AN IMPACT Specialist design company Multidekor says that from its perspective, the most important thing is communication with a centre when it comes to working together and planning decoration. “Planning is key,” tells Mariuszem Gagatko, executive director at the Christmas design company. “It is always good to have a leading, original theme for Christmas around which we prepare the design for a particular shopping centre in accordance with its marketing strategy. “The most important thing for the design company,” Gagatko continues, “is to have a thorough interview with a shopping centre in order to understand what kind of clients visit its centre. Knowing the marketing strategy of 01773 835552


a shopping centre and having a detailed briefing makes it easier to plan and execute. It is also helpful for us to visit a shopping centre when Christmas decorations are on the mall in order to discuss with management what types of solutions are adaptable and what can be amended or even completely changed.” One aspect to consider is whether decoration should act more as a centrepiece or as a setting. Is it better to have for a centre to have big one-off pieces such as Europe’s largest Wishmas Tree at Trinity Leeds? Or should the focus be more on the lighting and how it puts the focus on the retailers, setting a grand backdrop for the centre to show off its fit-outs and bring the whole thing to life rather than be overcrowded with decoration? There’s always something interesting and exciting going on with technology, and there is of course the temptation to push too heavily with gimmicks that don’t necessarily make a return on capital. The trick is to make it low-cost, high-engagement. Kim Dodd, account management at retail marketing agency Toolbox Group, agrees that atmosphere is still the most important thing. “We don’t actually believe that technology necessarily makes the experience more special,” says Dodd. “It can make it more interactive, but it’s the traditional elements – touch, sound, light, smell – that make it a real experience for shoppers. Unlike other aspects of life, Christmas is still emotionally traditional to shoppers. Adding to Dodd’s point about interactivity, Chloe Keith, group account director at Toolbox Group, says that engagement was definitely a key element to Christmas displays in 2017. “This Christmas,” she tells, “we really saw how interactive elements to the decorations encouraged participation to increase visit and dwell time. For example, a giant light-up throne we had installed at Castle Mall in Norwich was a hugely popular attraction that drew families from all over the city.” Giving consumers a specific thing to engage with and telling them how to engage with it by, for example, posting a picture on social media with an accompanying hashtag is an easy and essentially cost-free way to promote a centre’s decoration. “Some of the simple ideas such as a giant polar bear at the new centre Kronen Vanlose in Copenhagen were really


CHRISTMASWORLD PREDICTIONS 2018 The Trend Show at the annual Christmasworld exhibition in Frankfurt showcases its selections and suggestions of Christmas decorations for retail and retail property. The accompanying trend book aims to answer two questions: which colours, materials, designs and forms will be prominent in the coming season? And how will festive displays shape up in the future? It is with questions such as these in mind, that the designers from Stilbüro bora.herke. palmisano have developed the Christmasworld Trends for the 2018 season. 1) VIVID HERITAGE Vivid Heritage is a style which interprets traditional handicraft skills from diverse cultures in a modern way that is full of vitality, with strong colours such as mustard, petrol and red. Particularly in evidence are patterns drawn from folklore and ethnic motifs, often in appliqué or embroidery. 2) ECLECTIC GATHERING Eclectic Gathering is an extravagant trend which combines apparent contrasts such as crystal, foil, mother of pearl and mirror-glass with playful details, exaggerated shapes and patterns, and creates surprise collage effects in pink, lemon, mandarin, azure, rose, black and gold. 3) BALANCE SOBRIETY Balance Sobriety is a purism of design, inspired mainly by the light-coloured woods, matt brass and shiny black surfaces of a Japanese aesthetic, finds expression in restrained natural tones. The colours range from pure white to rose gold, a shiny by cool grey, a deep bordeaux red and black. 4) SPLENDID HISTORY Splendid History is the staging of the luxurious and the elegant in an unconventional and modern way. Lace, precious and semi-precious stones, pearls and marble are combined with dark, saturated colours, together with accents in aventurine, aquamarine and gold. effective and made an impact,” says Keith. “We ran a selfie competition to find a name for our polar bear which drove online engagement and awareness. “Traditional decorations with interactive elements and photo opportunities will continue to be on-trend for next year in line with creating experiences that shoppers crave. I think we’ll also see more socially and environmentally conscious themes as these are so high on shoppers’ minds at the moment.” Sustainability should always, as Dodd says, be a consideration when it comes to decorating. With lights playing such a central part of any Christmas display, LED lighting should be a given for any installation. Corporate social responsibility is at an all-time high, and as consumer-facing entities, centre should strive to deliver economically, socially and environmental beneficial solutions. Education surrounding environmental impact can come from more than just the types of lighting being used, as North Gallery in Warsaw proved. “We were asked to prepare Christmas decorations that agree with its green strategy that references nature,” says Multidekor’s Gagatko. “We decided to focus on the polar bear as the main topic of decoration within the centre. The decoration didn’t only look good but it had educational characteristics,” he tells, commenting on the impact unsustainable solutions are contributing towards the destruction of the animal’s habitat.


THINKING AHEAD As the festive season winds down, thoughts turn to what kind of decorations are likely to be popular for Christmas 2018. “By creating the illuminations,” Gagatko says, “we should constantly not only provide, but stay ahead of new trends. In the coming season, by far the biggest interest will be focused on large, three-dimensional free-standing decorations such as Santa Claus on the motorbike at Schonhauser Allen Arcaden in Berlin and origami animals at Riviera Shopping Centre in Moscow. “Those elements need to be linked to social media in order to become attractive points for taking photos. Our aim is for Christmas decorations to come alive rather than being ornaments to be admired.” Rob Curran, founder of decorations company Wonderworks, agrees with Gagatko’s sentiment, saying that interaction is a trend that was strong in 2017 and will carry through and be built upon in 2018. “Interaction has the

biggest impact on Christmas displays,” Curran tells. “A lot of our briefs from shopping centres were from designs that were focused not only on what people can see but on what people can do. This included features such as buttons that make animated characters move and sing through to large displays linked to a particular theme that encouraged children to learn while enjoying their grotto experience. “Technology, plays an important role in the shopping centre experience," Curran continues. As the demand for more interaction continues, so does the need for higher-quality animation. Singing reindeers and other festive characteristics have been commonplace in shopping centres for some time, but there’s now a push to make these much more realistic. That requires more sophisticated technology and programming that enables synchronised mouth movements and details such as blinking.” Planning for 2018 usually starts in the spring so that there’s sufficient time to evolve, design and produce ideas. One of the most important considerations in this process is the demographics of the shopping centre and its location. Understanding who is most likely to visit the centre can have subtle but important influences on the final design of a Christmas display, ensuring it attracts as many people as possible. Curran finishes by reiterating that interaction will be the key theme for 2018. “Shopping centres will be looking for more innovative and creative designs that further enhance the visitor experience and encourage people to stay longer,” he concludes.



AN EVENTFUL HOLIDAY Christmas is the time to engage your shoppers



ith Christmas on the horizon and shoppers being at their most willing to part with cash, November and December are the biggest months in a shopper’s calendar. But with the convenience and stress-free experience offered by online shopping, the battle lines are drawn and centres need to pull out all the stops to make sure shoppers are coming into stores, putting pressure on events and marketing teams to entice them through the doors. When it comes to activating the Christmas shopping experience, the first question to ask is: “when does Christmas start”? The answer seems to be earlier and earlier every year, although most wait respectfully until at least two or three days after Halloween has passed. Whatever the date, the next question to answer is: “how are we going to kick things off?” “As we all know,” says intu customer experience director, Roger Binks, “Christmas always really starts with the Coca Cola advert. We get the big truck to come to a few of our centres which had a really good experiential pull with people wanting to get a picture with the iconic vehicle.” If you’re unable to bag the famous truck, Clare Andrew, managing director of Shoppertainment Management, says that Christmas light switch on events are always popular with shoppers and families. “The Meads shopping centre in Farnborough saw a footfall increase of 35 per cent compared to the same switch on event the previous year and a 10.6 per cent increase in footfall on the previous Saturday,” she tells. The Meads’ event saw local dance acts, a brass

band and X-Factor runners up Reggie and Bollie make a special appearance. Andrews says that Christmas kick-off events are at their most successful when they engage the local community, a sentiment echoed by AL Marketing client service director Sarah Gregory, who went with a more local vibe at the Brunswick shopping centre with its switch on event. “We decided to use it as an opportunity to give something back to the local community,” Gregory tells. “The centre arranged for a buffet and hog roast to be served for free from 6.00pm to 9.00pm in the centre to all shoppers. We just asked that shoppers offer a charitable donation to our neighbouring Great Ormond Street Hospital. We tapped into some local contacts and managed to secure acclaimed West-End star, solo artist and songwriter Madalena Alberto to turn on the lights.” Over at British Land’s Meadowhall, the festive season was kicked off on 8 November with, for the seventh year in a row, the sold-out annual Christmas Live Concert in partnership with Capital Yorkshire. The event saw the likes of Craig David, X-Factor winner Matt Terry, and singers James Hype, Raye, and 5 After Midnight take to the stage in aid of Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice and Global Make Some Noise charity. And with a slightly left field offering, the world’s first Slideatron, a ‘fully immersive’ Christmas experience, landed at Wembley Park adjacent to London Designer Outlet. The free to visit attraction was an 18-metre-high modern take on the Christmas tree, made from scaffolding, dressed in LED lights,



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and housing a 20 metre long thrill-ride slide. The slide amped things up every hour by going into rave mode, coming to life with rave remixes of popular Christmas songs.

TRADITIONAL XMAS A staple of mall Christmas is, of course, the grotto. It gives the kids a chance to meet the man in red himself and get into the festive spirit. And from a footfall perspective it is a tried and tested means of getting parents with young children into the mall. Among the more adventurous efforts was the Enchanted Forest Grotto at Weston Favell, Northampton, which saw Santa’s log cabin nestled in a real, living and breathing forest of 120 fir trees of between 3.5 and 10 feet, inside the shopping centre, requiring nine months of planning and five days of set up. The ‘natural’ experience included forest sounds and scents and saw elves Spud and Eve welcome visitors into the world of the Enchanted Forest, taking them on an adventure through the enchanted world on the path to Santa’s cabin. Part of the experience was a ‘seek and find’ educational activity for children which taught them all about nature and the environment while they waited to meet Santa. Chloe Keith, group account director at Toolbox Group, says that interactivity was key for exhibits in malls this year, naming the Enchanted Grotto as one of the most immersive experiences. “It combines a great multi-sensory experience for shoppers with sounds and smells of a real forest but with strong CSR elements behind it. Keith claims that grottos continue to be key elements of commercial events: “Where we didn’t have a grotto, we were asked why not. Where we had a grotto, we noticed a positive impact on footfall. At Weston Favell there was a 24 per cent increase in visits to the grotto this year compared to last, and it was fully sold out on the three days before Christmas.” As the popularity of grottos proves, Christmas is very much about the kids, and creating family friendly experiences are some of the surest routes to success. One method used at Landsec’s White Rose Leeds centre was the installation of a Blanchere Illumination Disney display, bringing together Disney and Christmas for its shoppers. Other examples were the intu Merryhill Wishmas area, which saw an onsite owl manned by an events company. Children were invited to come along and together wish as hard as they could to make the owl flap its wings, while snow was engineered to fall over the area to create a magical experience. At intu Victoria there was a toy testing lab and throughout intu’s portfolio, the centres teamed up once again with playmobil for its grotto and postboxes for mailing letters to Santa Claus. As intu’s Binks puts it, “it’s not all about Santa anymore, it’s about having a good time.” Families coming together is a big theme for Christmas every year, and according to Jo Prosser, marketing manager at Maynineteen, family-focused events are among the biggest hitters. She says: “They bring people of all ages together to experience a moment and this collective impact creates lasting memories that connect people to 26 | SHOPPING CENTRE FEBRUARY 2018



saw more centres having their own mini Christmas markets that included huts on their large outside spaces,” she tells. “Centres such as the Meads, St Stephens, the Broadway and Middlebrook retail park all had these installed this year for on

ON DECORATIONS THAT MADE THE BIGGEST IMPACT THIS YEAR: “Our display at London Designer Outlet created a big impact for 2017. It fused art, light and Christmas and was a hit with both shoppers and our client. Designs work best when they compliment the architecture and space.” ON DESIGN THEMES AND CONCEPTS FOR CHRISTMAS 2018: “You will see more fuss free designs in 2018, creative schemes that stand the test of time and don’t date. Most of our clients extend into years 4 and 5 so the design style as well as quality of product need to allow for these extensions.” ON TECHNOLOGY: “Technology that connects with children in a simple way works best. Engagement in its purest form – without all the layers is what we get the most rewarding results from and so do our clients. Colour change touch pads right through to tree’s with screens embedded – as long as it makes sense to the story it works.” ON WORKING WITH SHOPPING CENTRES: “The brief is your chance as a centre to tell us your vision. We have ideas and creative teams in our business – but there is nothing like creating ideas in collaboration. When we work in partnership with our clients on designs they are normally our showcase schemes – as they deliver on all the objectives. We need to know who walks through the doors of your centre, where they shop, how they engage with the centre and the retailers to understand how to make Christmas special for them. When shoppers stop to look at our decorations and take photos – we know our job is done well.”

the physical retail space. A firm favourite from 2017 was a beautiful animatronic snow lion, a huge and incredibly life-like creature that made an appearance at several of our Christmas events delighting both kids and adults alike.” Christmas may be for children, but they aren’t the ones spending money. Some centres, such as intu Milton Keynes, offered adult-themed experiences in the form of a canvas tepee which housed a bar and fires and a place to relax amid the excitement of shopping. Other adult-appealing concepts seen throughout malls over the period were late night shopping events and Maynineteen’s gamification activation which saw 15, 000 commuters receive scratchcards being given the chance to win designer prizes via a padlocked safe in the Victoria Leeds mall. Also proving popular this year were Christmas Markets and Christmas-oriented kiosks from mall retailers. Michaela Middleton, account director at Toolbox Group, tells: “Personalisation of gifts and decorations were really popular. Commercial stalls selling personalised decorations within an hour were doing really well. There was also high demand for Nutella in personalised jars sold in Debenhams. Generally commercial bookings for pop-up shops selling gifts, decorations and food were higher than ever.” Shoppertainment’s Andrews says that their malls were inundated with requests from retailers to have their own breakout units to curb queue times for popular products. “Taking on the trend from the traditional Christmas market structure, we

average six weeks. Having this type of installation gives shoppers the freedom to experience a Christmas market without having to travel into city centres and they can do this while shopping at their local shopping centre or retail park.” And among the most popular kiosk takers were the chocolatiers: “Chocolate Workshop kiosks were booked into more centres than in previous years,” says Andrews. “They are a true festive favourite and even though they are often included in the traditional Christmas markets, we are now seeing more independent chocolatiers coming into centres and taking up space on the mall that allows them to have access to the optimum footfall of shoppers.”

SELLING CHRISTMAS In order to be a success all of these events and activities are largely dependent on a good marketing strategy. Communication is, as ever, key when it comes to making sure shoppers know what’s going on and when. Whether it’s via social media, local out of home advertising, or national TV ads for those with a bigger budget, it’s essential to promote centre activity. Social media engagement was one of the most popular strategies this year, with many promoting selfie campaigns to boost social media presence. St David’s #StockingSelfie social media campaign was launched throughout the month of December offering 15 prizes over the festive period with the results of the activation generating 3.7 million social media impressions and a reach of 1.1 million. White Rose Leeds, ‘Wish Upon a Selfie’ saw similar success, with over 500 entries and a social reach of over 100,000 views. Toolbox’s Chloe Keith says their promotional strategy is all encompassing. She says: “Our approach is always to be 360 degree, using all channels available but balancing them according to the audience and costs. We work a lot with partners and the community to bring out the human side of Christmas. We use key influencers to help tell our story such as bloggers and vloggers. We found that we can stand out from all the retailer noise using floor space such as vinyls, and air space such as hanging banners and other decorations.” Jeremy Rucker from City Dressing says that the absolute bottom line is continual communication and engagement, whether it’s as simple as promoting elongated opening times or making sure parking information is up to date, or keeping retailers constantly in the loop about mall activity. He says: “Examples where centres chart the consumer journey from the car park to the centre with information on ground graphics, handing banners, column wraps and freestanding towers gives a very high recognition rate. This needs reinforcing with social and print media. A good campaign will encourage a repeat visit to the centre. “There is very little onsite communication and in some cases an over reliance on social media. An event should be part of an overall story around Christmas and that story would include the Christmas decorations as well as activations.” FEBRUARY 2018 SHOPPING CENTRE | 27


MANAGING CHRISTMAS The stakes around Christmas are high, with shoppers invading centres tenfold around the gift giving holiday.



hristmas is notoriously the busiest shopping occasion of the year, and the expectations from shoppers to have the full Christmas shopping experience is higher than ever. But with great footfall comes great responsibility as more people mean an increased number of potential pitfalls that can make the event more of a chore, from increased queue times to overcrowded restaurants, to packed-out car parks. With effective management, however, this can be avoided with a proactive approach from centre management. “Shopping centres need to be ready and equipped to react to certain situations to deliver the best experience,” says Chloe Keith, group account director at retail marketing agency Toolbox. “For example, if the car park is full and customers are having issues entering or exiting, go that extra mile and offer free mince pies. Shoppers are used to pressing a button to make things happen and they expect the same in real life experience.” Keith says that the key is in convenience. The shopping experience at Christmas is much more likely to be disrupted in some way than during other periods and so the key is distracting shoppers with little personal touches to alleviate any stress caused. She says: “centres should be planning great experiences such as gift wrapping, shopping drop-off points, roaming customer service staff, gift advisors and parking assistants.”

Year round, the goal should always be to enhance the customer experience and create a positive shopping environment as this improves ratings, creates customer satisfaction, establishes loyalty and drives footfall. The most important thing in doing this from a management perspective should be first and foremost understanding the shoppers. Footfall data can provide some of the most immediate, accurate and useful data for a centre as knowing how many people are coming through the doors and where they’re going is key to planning the positioning of staff around the centre. Steve Richardson, retail analytics company Shoppertrak’s UK and MEA regional and international accounts director, says that it is no longer about guesswork and management teams have access to tools to help them plan ahead and come up with ways to alleviate queues at peak periods in bricks and mortar stores. “The spike in footfall over the Christmas season highlights the importance for retailers to ensure that there are an adequate number of team members on the shop floor,” Richardson says. “Assisting customers and quickly processing transactions is particularly important during peak trading periods where high levels of shopper traffic which may otherwise cause long waiting times to purchase abandonment. “An effective way to avoid long queues,” he continues, “is to utilise historical traffic forecasts. This enables store managers and head office to schedule associates based on


pany behind the mall communications solution Mallcomm. “Centres and retailers are able to deliver a better customer experience by communicating instantly between each other to manage safety issues,” she explains. “It has been a great tool for the likes of London’s West End in keeping the world’s busiest shopping streets safe and well managed.”

LIFE IN THE SLOW LANE According to a survey carried out by The Liberty shopping centre in Romford, stressed-out British shoppers are calling for the introduction of a ‘slow lane’ over the festive period to create a more leisurely browsing experience and ease

anticipated customer visits, optimising their staff-to-customer ratio.” Richardson says that in order to succeed during Christmas trading periods, retailers and landlords should work together in interrogating the customer data available to them across their collective channels and adapt their business to suit the changing behaviour of the multi-channel shopper. “By analysing real-time data and acting on this insight to better understand customer behaviour in-store, and predict future trends, retailers are then able to relieve pressure on fixed spots,” he says. “Reduce terminal queues and ensure a high level of customer experience is upheld to increase customer spend.” As Christmas is such a manic time for malls it can be a challenge to keep on top of everything that’s going on all at once, and from a security standpoint it is important to make sure things don’t get out of hand. Adopting a good communications system throughout the mall so staff can be moved around as the situation requires is an effective way to minimise any disruptions. “Better management and communication tools like Mallcomm are key in managing safety and security, helping retail destinations stay safe,” says Toolbox’s Keith, the

the strain of picking up last minute Christmas presents. The survey found that more than half of shoppers find the Christmas shopping experience extremely stressful, with participants saying they would rather do unpleasant tasks such as housework (39 per cent), spend time with in-laws (15 per cent) or go to the dentist (6 per cent) than take on a big Christmas shop. Other points of note from the research were the strategies by which shoppers would minimise the stress of their shopping trip, such as getting to centres early to beat crowds (36 per cent), going on quieter shopping days during the weeks (23 per cent) having a militaristic action plan (13 per cent) and carrying snacks to reduce hunger-induced shoppers’ rage. Roger Binks, customer experience director at intu, says that communication with shoppers is key to ensure that shoppers have the optimal, stress free experience and can easily plan their shopping trip. “At this time of year we make sure things like opening times and parking availability are well communicated,” Binks says. “It’s a busy period and giving the local community and destination shoppers as much information as they can to plan their shopping trips and minimise stress is essential.” One of the big questions centre managers should be asking and assessing as post-Christmas sales quieten down is what knowledge they can take from Christmas 2017 moving forward and thinking about organising Christmas 2018. Keith says the biggest takeaways from this year are to optimise experience and convenience for shoppers. “Centres always need to focus on why people would come to their centre to shop,” she elaborates. “How can the experience of making the trip be better than shopping at home in your PJs? Of course people are going to shop online, but we’ve got to maximise on the benefits of shopping in store like inspiration, social interaction and the positive leisure experience. “Next year, we’ll be going the extra mile with inspiring content, additional in-centre services such as gift advisors, gift wrapping and parking assistants. We’ll also be looking at more personal experiences and community involvement. “We also saw this year that Black Friday kick-started Christmas spend, then spend dropped until the week before Christmas, plus boxing day sales aren’t big anymore and start before Christmas, so we’ll definitely be planning with this in mind next Christmas,” she concludes. FEBRUARY 2018 SHOPPING CENTRE | 29


Extensions drive development pipeline An estimated 1.5 million sq ft of shopping centre floorspace is in the development pipeline for 2018, according to new research from Cushman & Wakefield. Almost of all of the new space will be in extensions to existing schemes. By contrast 2017 saw 1.3 million sq ft of space delivered, only half of which was in extensions. Extensions to Westfield London, Intu Watford and Intu Lakeside are scheduled to complete this year, while the long-awaited extension at Brent Cross is set to begin, along with the redevelopment of Intu Broadmarsh in Nottingham. Cushman & Wakefield’s report, UK Shopping Centres – The Development Story, identifies some key trends in the shopping centre market. These include the growth in leisure ‘experiences’ as

landlords explored new ways to entice shoppers increasing their experience-led leisure floorspace, including formats such the Junk Yard crazy golf concept at Westgate Oxford. Demand from traditional leisure operators has also continued, with food and beverage brands accounting for almost 15 per cent of shopping centre leasing activity. John Percy, head of retail development consultancy at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “Leisure is a current focus but we expect much more varied mix of uses being part of all development and this will be critical to creating successful places. Landlords are quickly adapting to market trends and engaging with an increasing number of ‘experience’ led operators in order to entice shoppers offline and into their developments.

Cushman & Wakefield predicts the involvement of local authorities in the investment market is also set to grow despite a few warning shots from the Treasury. Local authorities accounted for more than 10 per cent of total shopping centre investment in 2017, compared with just 0.45 per cent in 2012 according to Property Data). Access to relatively cheap finance through the Public Works Lending Board has enabled local authorities to acquire income-generating assets, in addition to enabling strategic control of town centre development. A trend towards more flexible and shorter leases has also continued. An analysis of leases signed over 2017 showed an average length of seven years. This offers flexibility to retailers and landlords alike, enabling the latter to attract and maintain a relevant tenant mix.

Consolidation on the cards Colliers is predicting the wave of consolidation among landlords and occupiers will continue into 2018. In Colliers’ annual predictions for the UK property market, head of UK retail Mark Phillipson said: “Throughout 2017, we have witnessed numerous large-scale acquisitions across the retail sector from Tesco-Booker and 30 | SHOPPING CENTRE FEBRUARY 2018

Amazon-Wholefoods through to the Hammerson-Intu and Westfield-Unibail-Rodamco deals and the repercussions will continue to take effect and crystalize in 2018 onwards. "We anticipate more consolidation of physical stores across the marketplace and retailers looking to the future of their business should see the advantages of this, particularly when considering their

cost base and financial strategy moving forward.” And he added: “In addition, we predict more CVA’s and restructuring is on the cards for occupiers, particularly department stores which are facing current challenges and risks, especially since online retail shopping verged into the mainstream, which has subsequently had a direct negative impact on sales and footfall.


Brighter outlook for investment market JLL is anticipating a £3bn market turnover in the UK shopping centre market in 2018, following suppressed turnover and muted investor sentiment last year when just 29 transactions worth £1.988bn took place. According to JLL, the likely downward pressure on valuations and recent capital gains tax changes together with the increased restrictions on refinancing will all be contributing factors that will accelerate the closing of the gap between vendor and purchaser pricing aspirations in the secondary shopping centre market. Nick Hart, JLL’s UK head of shopping centre investment, said: “We expect to see much greater market activity in 2018 right across the piste, with a number of secondary centres and portfolios marketed. There is a great deal of raised domestic capital seeking high-quality assets and we believe that as we move through to March 2018 valuations, pricing will move to unlock the yield gap which has persisted for much of 2017.” He continued: “We have seen an uptick in global investor appetite in the convenience and community secondary shopping centre sector as evidenced in the US by Brookfield’s acquisition of GGP. This sentiment is and will flow to the UK throughout the early to mid-part of 2018. Indeed, the key as ever will be stock selection and resilient trading locations, with re-based rents where retailers make a profitable group contribution. This retail sub sector is looking good value relative to other UK and European sectors.” This year, JLL anticipates that there will be increased activity in the prime and dominant shopping centre markets which will be fuelled by the inevitable consolidation of the combined Hammerson and Intu portfolio following the merger in 2017. JLL also expects that REITs will take the opportunity to reshape their portfolios while institutions will continue to dispose of smaller lots and focus on large, prime dominant retail assets. Hart commented: “Our sentiment is more positive this year. In 2017, the political and economic uncertainty which surrounded Brexit impacted investor decision making, depressing activity across the UK sector. As a result, we experienced the lowest volume of UK shopping centres traded since 2008 but this year things are looking brighter.” And on the occupational front, Tim Vallance, JLL’s head of UK retail & leisure predicted the retail market will be challenging but pockets of outperformance will emerge. “Despite the ongoing economic and political uncertainty, the macro fundamentals supporting retail

sales remain relatively robust, namely low unemployment and ongoing – if moderate – economic growth,” Vallence said. “It is the inflationary driven squeeze in household spending that represents the most notable headwind to retailer performance in early 2018.” JLL predicts the retail market will become marginally more challenging in the short-term as these cyclical effects compound the long standing structural shifts. Pockets of the retail market will continue to

deteriorate, particularly more secondary locations and less relevant centres that have been slow to respond to the ongoing challenges. But outperformance will emerge for those with expertise who can ‘cut through the noise.’ Major retail centres will continue to benefit from strong tourist spend, while convenience locations, where trading performance is robust and occupational costs more affordable, will also remain resilient.







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convenience is king

Emma Mackenzie believes there’s value in the convenience-led and community-focused sub-sector of the retail market which offers affordable, everyday goods that consumers require, and not just desire. While online retailing will continue to grow, GlobalData forecasts that the discount and value retail sub-sectors will grow at a faster rate over the next six years than online – something that is neither widely-known nor appreciated by those in the marketplace. At a time when virtually every UK retailer now has an online arm it is vital to recognise that the convenience sector is dominated by brands that have actively chosen to reject online and maintain only a physical presence in order to protect their profit margins. The long-term trends we are seeing across our convenience-led and community-focused retail and leisure portfolio are encouraging. Our shoppers visit frequently, purchasing their daily non-discretionary items and it is this sub-sector of retail that remains resilient to the growth of online, as well as fluctuations in the consumer economy over the long-term. At NewRiver we believe that demographics are the underlying drivers of UK retail, rather than online or technology, which are by-products of demographic changes and evolving consumer behaviour. The key for retail operators and real estate owners is tapping into the demographic with pounds in their pockets and that spending power lies firmly with the ‘grey pound’ – the over 55s who shop more frequently and consistently than junior demographics, preferring the convenience and accessibility of retail parks and convenience-led community shopping centres, in addition to having larger disposable incomes. At NewRiver, we are well-exposed to this 34 | SHOPPING CENTRE FEBRUARY 2018

wealthier shopper with 64 per cent of our shoppers being aged 45+. On the occupier front, there is no doubt that Brexit is having an impact on many UK corporates, and the retail sector is no different. In a post-Brexit market place where caution is growing, it is likely we will see pressure on consumer spending as wage growth decreases and interest rates rise. This pressure will affect the way in which retailers are presenting and producing their products as people will be more focused on price and quality. At NewRiver we have a portfolio full of price-competitive and expanding retailers, who are concentrated in the essential, rather than the discretionary spend sector, therefore we will be well placed to deal with this trend as we move into 2018. With inflation above wage growth, there will be some pressure on consumer spending and, therefore, it is not surprising that retailers are being more cautious about the space they take. Certain sub-sectors, particularly those most reliant on discretionary spend, will face increased challenges, and department stores and mid-to-premium fashion retailers will certainly feel the pinch, as shown by recent sales figures released by the likes of John Lewis and Debenhams and last week’s announcement that New Look is seeking to close up to sixty stores. Thankfully, neither of these are sectors which NewRiver has exposure to. By contrast, our centres are full of price competitive and expanding retailers and a store-based network is essential to them, and our en-

tire portfolio is based on our commitment to seek out smart investments on affordable assets that provide the community with something of genuine value. Food and grocery, value fashion, general discount and health and beauty are set to grow over the next five years, and convenience-led centres anchored around these types of occupier will remain at the heart of local communities – where they serve an invaluable social resource where people can shop, meet, eat and drink together on a regular basis – for some time yet. There isn’t an app for that.

Emma Mackenzie is a director at NewRiver REIT


UKPC helps the homeless Christmas Day is the one day of the year when a major rail terminus should be deserted, with no trains scheduled to run that day. But for once London’s Euston Station was a hive of activity as Network Rail opened the doors to host a special Christmas lunch for 200 of London’s homeless people. The event was organised by homeless charity St Mungo’s and Streets Kitchen along with local business and Network Rail suppliers. Parking manager UKPC played its part with boxes containing brand new thermal socks, gloves and winter hats, distributed to each of the guests on the day as they left the station.

The UKPC team in Beaconsfield had assembled and individually giftwrapped the boxes through December and delivered them to Euston in time for the big day. Cameron Downey, Network Rail programme manager, explained: “We started this project to demonstrate what we could do with some of our stations in downtime. But the greater achievement was the demonstration of what the local community and businesses can deliver when we come together. The gift boxes UKPC donated were extremely well received and will help the guests keep warm this winter.”

Galleries welcomes pop-up cop shop This month’s moves . . . Avon and Somerset Police force’s pop-up shop at the Galleries shopping centre in Bristol has enjoyed a record breaking season at the centre.The Cop Shop opened its doors on 27th November 2017 and enjoyed a total of 8,026 visitors throughout its stay. This figure beats the record set in 2012, where there were not one but two shops, achieving a total of 6,500 visitors combined. Much of the success can be attributed to the shop’s prime location within The Galleries, together with a whole host of activities to attract consumer interest. The Police drugs dog called Kos was a particular hit with all visitors, while a Star Wars

character appearance, a freewheeling motor bicycle performance, a police horse mannequin display and a visit from Avon Fire and Rescue’s Fido the dog, all proved popular. Staff were on hand to offer crime prevention, home security and personal safety advice, with their short video ‘Gone in 60 seconds’ grabbing visitor’s attention and inspiring discussions on bike security. Centre manager Colin Lang said: “We’re overwhelmed at the success of the Cop Shop this Christmas. The activity not only served to create a great buzz in the centre but goes a long way to reinforce the positive influence the force has in our community.”

GEORGE GRIMES has joined managing agent M J MAPP from Savills shopping centre team to further bolster the retail business. He has experience working with a variety of retail properties including regional and local shopping centres, outlet centres and out of town parks.

LAMBERT SMITH HAMPTON has appointed TIM APPLETON will head its retail/out of town team throughout Scotland, a newly created post. He is a former director of Colliers, CBRE and Appleton Craig and with 30 years’ experience in the sector.

GCW has strengthened its high street and shopping centre agency teams with two appointments. LAURENCE NOOTT joins as a senior surveyor in the high street team where he will work on leasing and asset management. He worked previously at Cushman & Wakefield and GL Hearn. ARCHIE MORRISS will work in the shopping centre agency team having joined from Morgan Williams.

KATIE PATTISON has joined specialist property marketing company THE COMPLETELY GROUP as managing director. She brings decades of strategic marketing experience in commercial property from her role as marketing manager at Hammerson.


Shopping Centre Magazine - February 2018  
Shopping Centre Magazine - February 2018